David is no newbie to the Milan Design week scene…. and this time he is showcasing his new lighting designs housed in what he calls his DREAM SPACE DOME – “an internal break-out space for quiet contemplation”. Here we see his methods for design being translated into an architectural pavillion, using minimal material – 5mm thick plantation pine with organic looking aluminium joints fastened with rivets; the seemingly complex structure not only sits inside a suitcase, but is easily assembled on site. I can’t wait to see some photos of it in action!!
“Why fill a truck with one tree, when the cost to the Earth is reduced by packing in boxes of seed?” I LOVE THIS! Not only does the kitset idea reduce the environmental footprint and reduce the volume of freight (thus cost), but it is FUN TO MAKE or “grow”… oh and it looks beautiful.
I love the inspiration from the beauty of nature, and the Coral lights take their inspiration from exactly that which they are named…coral. David says: “I love to snorkel over reefs exploring the amazing detail and structure of all the various corals. Our kitsets significantly reduce freighting, which is one of our ways of doing what we can to help preserve our beautiful sea and land environments.”
We are very excited to see them off, once again, to Milan to show off their new works at the Salone Satellite Design Week. ”We decided that rather than sending big crates from New Zealand to the other side of the world, we would design the work to fit in our suitcases.” A design challenge which has produced some very nice designs using minimal (and recycled) materials! See their very cool video here showing their process of packing their designs… Video of DesignTree off to Milan Design Week
Using recycled materials in clever ways, these new designs don’t just look cool, but tell an inspiring story…
The Nectar hanging lamp is made out of 100% polyster and takes its inspiration from nature, and yes you guessed it from the very clever bees. Beautifully configured, these lamps come flat packed minimising waste and utilises the beehive structure to create something light yet structurally strong. Any left-over material is also then taken back to the manufacturer and recycled to make new material.
Here the Base hanging lamp shade turns “waste” into a thing of beauty. Utilising industrial plastic off-cuts, or old signage with a steel base that uses minimal material. I especially love the pink lamp, with the snippet of type reading ”a tradition of innovation”, I like them in a cluster too which speaks of their stories (or past-lives).
A similar concept, the Ledge lamp “shines a light” on problematic waste material. It reinvigorates old signage and scrap materials, thus each being entirely unique, with its own markings, scratches, and tidbits of colour…contrasting with the sleek (modern) aluminium frame. I love how it can also be used as a display shelf, very clever.
Similar again, the Salvage stool is made up of a 100% aluminium seat, which clamps the wooden legs found from local building recyclers, wood turners and junk shops. Using only 3 bolts, which can be put together easily with the allen-key provided, the stool comes in various options and sizes to suit – I love the value and appreciation given to old discarded materials, a very clever and functional design.
Just lovin this work on used, pre-loved snow boards… what a beautiful and functional medium. The way the grain is allowed to come through with the minimal additions in white silhouettes. Upcycling is just booming around the world. And with good reason. We’ve got into such a mad, vicious, addictive cylcle of buy, consume, chuck. Often objects made with beautiful and valuable materials – I had no idea how a snow board was made prior to this awakening – are given the heave. And so Nathan Seccombe brings new life to these boards in an unexpected way… once carving up the mountain snow, now carving up the space on a wall or floor. Cool. My fave are the two clocks… yours?
Oh, and nice photos too. It’s always a pleasure to see great design represented so well… must be the old ad art director coming out in me.
Art should belong in the public arena right? What better canvas than a subway train? Wrong? It wasn’t long ago that subversive artists were “doing” their art in these places… illegally. These artists [admittedly not all were artists] were the scourge of the New York and subsequent subways. Now they’re emerging as recognised artists throughout the world. Although some prefer to remain incognito. They’re even legal in some underground railways. And above ground they’re celebrated as enriching cities like Melbourne. Where their works have become tourist attractions with bus tours showing the way. And so they should be. Try these wonderful creations found in Amsterdam. Talk about enriching otherwise boring and ugly environments.
Million Dollar Design were selected by the Amsterdam Public Transport Company to transform one of the old “Zilvermeeuw” subway cars into art [and their work has lived up to their name]. They were one of 40 artists that were selected to create a new subway carriage interior. “With our design, the common dark gray atmosphere of the underground has been transformed into a colorful underwater world. Mermaids swim along, an octopus hides under an umbrella and a turtle takes you on a journey into the unknown. The subway consists of two differently designed so-called ‘bins’ (compartments). One has a predominantly green color which reminds you of the deep underwater, where strange little creatures are floating around. The other which is purple, suggests that it’s closer to the surface, where small fish are flirting with the sparklings of the sunlight onto the water.”
It’s public-minded community art projects like this that make the mundane of cities into exciting, moving, living, giving, enriching environments. Worth living in. Worth sharing with the world. So what about us? Our cities shaping up for the Rugby World Cup? I don’t see much like it on our trains, buses, underpasses… yet?
Stuck around the back of a nondescript building in Newton, Auckland, I find a treasure trove of glass artists. Katherine Rutecki and Luke Jacomb run a glass studio specialising in glass-blowing and casting glass in the lost wax method. Together they’ve formed Lukeke Design, under which they collaborate on a number of works that, while perform as objects of beauty, perform equally well in other ways in the home. As individual artists they have their own specialities. And it’s Kate I’ve come see about her glass birds…
But the works currently flying out the mould [it's actually a bit more difficult than that] are birds that celebrate flight, life and symbiosis… almost human-like expressions of togetherness, connectedness, an almost exquisite expression of love.
The process starts with a sculpture in clay. After a series of positive and negative versions in rubber, wax, plaster and finally glass, the piece emerges in a rough finish. After grinding and polishing it is finally sandblasted to give it the delicate, glowing finish that diffuses the light rather than bouncing off it.
The art of glassblowing is always fascinating to watch, mesmerising. What I love about these goblets is that, with their sand-blasted finish, they have an almost ceramic-like quality. They look stunning in monochrome white, black and various colours. Quite graphic and juxtaposed with their mix of classic and traditional forms.
Another find while in the studio was these cast glass Power Poles by Simon Lewis Wards… enigmatic yet so mundane. And quite beautiful. I’m looking at the power poles in my street quite differently now.
On my latest road trip up north to Kerikeri I discover NZ’s only fully non toxic printmaking studio buried in the lush subtropical gardens of Wharepuke. Mark Graver, who trained at Leeds Polytechnic UK and Camberwell College of Arts in London, now calls Northland home. He practices as a full time print-maker and painter but loves sharing his knowledge through teaching, writing books and exhibiting both in the gallery next to his studio as well as abroad. His passion though, is for printing in a clean, non toxic environment using natural and organic materials. He reckons it’s the only way to sustain the art of printmaking, as the usual methods and materials used are highly toxic leading to many studios and teaching facilities closing down.
But sustainable credentials aside, I love the earthy nature of his work, whether it’s the subject or the very materials he uses. For example, this one of series of colour etchings inspired by Monet’s Water Lilly paintings, Nympheas II …And other etchings, Lavenham and Fairstar….
And in his paintings he mixes in earth, gravel and all manner of natural elements from his immediate environment… as in the painting Drive. I suspect that the very gravelly effect in this work is achieved with elements from his own driveway mixed in with a blend of other media.
So Mark Graver, please carry on your crusade for the true art of printmaking by keeping it clean… and “dirty” in terms of your painting. Oh, and by the way, why not meet Mark by staying at Wharepuke in one the cottages?
Sustainability is a cornerstone value for the CleverBastards brand… so I’d better back that up with some relevant posts. And while we at CBs champion art and design in NZ, we definitely follow what’s happening around the world. Inhabitat is a blog I follow and I’m impressed with so much of what they say and promote… eg this comp which invites viewers to vote on entries to find the winners in their Spring Greening Contest. We’re so into upcycling that we have a category dedicated to it. For those not familiar with the term Wikipedia says… “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” Or simply, creates from rubbish! Well check these finalists…
Cola Bottle Lamp by Sarah Turner was the winner. She turns plastic Coca Cola bottles into these intricately amazing lamps. She collects the throwaways, and after a good cleaning, sandblasts them to make them opaque. Then she cleverly cuts them them into decorative forms.
Pop Pendant Light made from recycled aluminium pull tabs by Mauricio Affonso. This is one of my favourites. I mean how could you get more basic than pull tabs! Feels a bit like the old 70’s disco balls.
But my fave is Carlos Alberto Montana Hoyos’s “A La Lata” Candy Bowl It is handcrafted with re-purposed aluminum can tabs woven together with cable-ties. Says Inhabitat: “The bowl appears to “float” on the translucent cable-ties. Its structure allows it to collapse inwards, with the ties packed tightly together. In this inverted position, the bowl can be used as a pencil holder.” Now that’s clever!
To tie that back to NZ [no pun intended] see what one of our very own CleverBastards, Andi Regan, is doing with cable-ties. Not bad eh?